Saturday, April 23, 2011

At #8 - Floyd Clymer; eccentric serial entrepreneur

Clymer was already famous as a young teenager – at 13 (in 1909) he was the youngest Ford dealer in the country! He went on to become a winning motorcycle racer and soon had a dealership for Harley-Davidson and Excelsior motorcycles in his home state of Colorado. He was an innovative marketer and one of the first people to sell motorcycles to police departments and delivery businesses. In his early 20s he began publishing his first motorcycle magazine. 
Curiously, it was after Clymer sold Cycle Magazine that the U.S. moto-mags started getting things ass-backwards.
His career was put on hold when he served a year in federal prison for mail fraud. He had been offered a chance to plead guilty and avoid prison altogether but he always claimed he was innocent and refused to admit a crime he didn’t commit. When he got out of prison he took over the distribution of Indian motorcycles on the west coast. Here again, he had marketing savvy, arranging for Indian motorcycles to appear in films and lending them to Hollywood stars. When Indian faltered in the ‘50s, Clymer desperately tried to save the brand but failed. He also was briefly the importer of the eyebrow-raising Munch Mammoth motorcycle.
Last but not least, he was the publisher of Cycle Magazine from the early ‘50s to the mid-‘60s and ran a very successful business publishing motorcycle repair manuals.

1 comment:

  1. The incidence of strange behavior by highly creative individuals seems too extensive to be the result of mere coincidence. As far back as ancient Greece, both Plato and Aristotle made comments about the peculiar behavior of poets and playwrights.
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